Station owner fights off intruder

WELLSVILLE – Joe Wallick, owner and proprietor of the For Your Convenience gas station and mart, was back at work on Monday following a violent encounter with a would-be armed robber over the weekend.

Wallick assured customers he was all right as they came into the 17th Street business asking about the incident. Pointing to various scars on his head, Wallick said, “I got three stitches here, he hit me on the ear a couple of times, he was kicking me in the back.”

After police responded, Wallick was taken by ambulance to East Liverpool City Hospital, where he was released after being treated and receiving X-rays and CAT scans.

The incident began at 7:30 a.m. Sunday when an unknown male knocked on the door. Wallick told him to come back at 8 a.m. when the store opened. The man returned at 7:45 and was turned away.

He was standing at the door waiting when Wallick opened at 8 a.m., coming inside and asking for cigarettes.

Leaning forward beside the counter pointing at cigarettes, the man waited until Wallick turned around before attacking him with a crowbar. Wallick said the attacker was relatively small in stature. Despite sustaining blows to the head and back, he was able to offer resistance.

After a struggle of nearly five minutes, wherein Wallick was able to disarm the attacker, the man offered to simply stop fighting and leave. When Wallick did so, the man resumed his attack, but Wallick was able to fight back with chemical mace and again offered physical resistance. The fight spilled onto the other side of the counter, Wallick said, and the pair slammed into the front door, shattering the glass.

Wallick has owned the business with his brother Griffin for four years. He said there was another armed robbery at the business previously that was less violent but far more lucrative for the thief.

“About two years ago, I was held up by gunpoint,” Wallick said. The robber got away with cash from the register.

There is a security camera inside the store, and footage from the time of the attack has been shared with Wellsville police. The incident is under investigation.